National Right to Work Committee with Mark Mix

In today’s show, Jason Hartman is joined by the President of the National Right to Work Committee, Mark Mix, to talk about the impact of labor unions on the economy. Mark shares that you are forced to join a union in some states if you want a job. They also discuss the Right to Work in one of the 27 Right To Work states, the amount of union dues, and if there’s still a need for labor unions in the workplace in the US.

Announcer 0:01
This show is produced by the Hartman media company. For more information and links to all our great podcasts, visit Hartman media.com.

Jason Hartman 0:12
Welcome to the American monetary associations podcast where we explore how monetary policy impacts the real lives of real people. And the action steps necessary to preserve wealth and enhance one’s lifestyle. It’s my pleasure to welcome Mark mix. He is president of the National right to work committee, and national right to work legal defense foundation. And we’re going to talk about the impact of labor unions in the economy and the real estate market and society in general today, so I think this will be a fantastic conversation. Mark, welcome.

Mark Mix 0:50
Jason, good to be on with you. Thanks for the opportunity.

Jason Hartman 0:53
Where are you located?

Mark Mix 0:54
We are located just outside the Beltway in Springfield, Virginia. We can blame everything on those people inside the beltway back here in Washington, DC, and I look to the west for for economic opportunity and freedom.

Jason Hartman 1:06
There you go. There you go. So maybe not everybody understands that in some states, believe it or not, in this modern era, you are literally forced to join a union. If you want a job, you don’t have a choice, you don’t have a right to work. Explain what a I guess there are 27 right to work states in the country where you don’t have to join a union, but elaborate on what that means or right to work or not a right to work.

Mark Mix 1:36
Yeah, Jason, it’s a really simple concept. Unfortunately, going back in 1935, in our country, the United States Congress under Roosevelt and the New Deal, decided that they were going to federalize labor policy, and they were gonna bring labor management relations back to Washington create a government board that would adjudicate disputes and and use Congress to impose rules and regulations and statutes on the American workforce. Well, for 1935, when they did this, they basically said that you could be forced to join a labor organization as a condition of getting or keeping a job in America. And that was kind of a novel concept. In fact, they tried it back in 1933, in the Supreme Court ruled this type of industrial policy was a violation of the Constitution. But Roosevelt in his wisdom decided to threaten the court pack the court with six additional justices. And believe it or not, in 1937, this new Wagner Act, labor Policy Act for the country was was ruled constitutional. And from 1937 to 1946. The union movement grew dramatically, of course, because this is really an unbelievable privilege. In 1947, the new Congress came in and passed what was then known as the Taft Hartley Act, which allowed states if they could, by voluntary and affirmative action, to pass What are now known as Right to Work laws, meaning they could get out from underneath the compulsory unionism aspects of the National Labor policy. So from 1947, to today, workers in 27, states have the ability to choose whether or not to financially support a labor union instantly enough, Jason from 1935, till a Supreme Court decision in 1963, you could actually be forced to join a private organization today, you can’t be forced to join, but you can be forced to pay up to 100% reduce your fees. So it’s a very interesting novel concept. And, and that power has been a unique power for labor unions in the country. And just in the last eight years, we passed five new Right to Work laws in states were here to four people would have thought, gosh, you can’t do that in a state like Michigan or Wisconsin, which we have. And the law is extremely simple. You have the ability to choose whether or not to financially support a labor union, and you can’t be fired if you don’t.

Jason Hartman 3:43
Okay, so. And we may disagree on this, I don’t know. But let’s just stay back in history. And then of course, we’ll bring this to the modern era. But I think that in the beginning, labor unions really did have a place I think they were needed, I think in the big industrial era of the Carnegie’s and the Rockefellers and the melons, you know, employees were pretty weak. And it seems to me at least in looking at history, like they did need to form unions to equalize the level of the playing field a little more. Now, today. Sadly, I think that unions are completely overrated, and unnecessary in so many ways workers have so many rights now, you know, it’s, you know, do you even need a union anymore? Right, and especially my God, public employee unions, that is literally the most illogical thing I’ve ever seen. But what do you think about that? Now that I’ll get off my soapbox?

Mark Mix 4:43
No. Jason, I agree with you. And you’re right. There was a place for labor unions in the American workplace. There is a place for labor unions in the American workplace and there will be a place and should be a place for unions in the American workplace. The fact of the matter is if you’re an employer and you’re not taking care of your employees, He said you’re doing things that are, you know, antithetical to to basic, you know, behavior when it comes to your employees, you should get a union and workers should be able to join together voluntarily to amplify their voice, what there’s no place for and the American in American labor policy is compulsion. There should never be any law that says you must be involved in this organization, you must pay money to this organization. And you must fall under or be pushed into this union collective if if you say no, or don’t want to be part of it. That’s that’s the problem with labor policy. It’s not the idea of unions per se in the private sector. Now, as we unpack what you said, up on your soapbox, I agree with you in the public sector is an entirely different animal. We should never stand in the way of teachers joining associations, whether they be unions or not. But the question is, Do you recognize that private organization to negotiate working conditions when you have taxpayers and elected officials and you put this third party group in between them? I agree with you and sort of Franklin Roosevelt, that that was something that was unthinkable, you wouldn’t unionize government in the same way that you would unionize private sector workforces? Because, by by definition, government does necessary services that can’t be provided from other sources. And I know that’s, that’s more ideological than it is realistic at this point, because government’s involved in everything. But the notion that we can apply this confrontational labor market model that developed in the private sector, to the public sector, I agree with you 100%. On that we should not recognize unions for purposes of bargaining with government employees.

Jason Hartman 6:29
Okay, so yeah, because and the reason the public employee unions are such a wacky idea is that the government is the arbiter of fairness. And yet, you should be able to you’re basically unionizing against your fellow taxpayers. That is craziness that is absolute craziness. But in a private company, if you want to join a union, because you think the Union offers you benefits as a worker, sure, you should be able to join it. I mean, you know, it shouldn’t be illegal to form a union. But it should be illegal to force somebody to join a union, if they want a job, that is absolutely anathema to free market, anything that’s just completely unfair. It’s like, you have to pay this many times corrupt organization, that is just taking your money, and spending it in all kinds of abusive ways that we’ve seen. And that’s, you know, been exposed many times, just because you want a job, why can’t you just have a job without, you know, maybe you don’t want to be part of that. Right?

Mark Mix 7:35
Yeah, it sounds really simple. It really does. And it really is very simple in that regard. And this idea of individual freedom and the kind of the fundamental bedrock of who we are as a nation and our constitutional privileges and our first amendment rights. You know, you can’t have the right to associate if you don’t have a corresponding right not to associate, I mean, those, these are simple issues, but because of politics, to your point, Jason, you know, this is big business, and it’s big money. And union officials use their power in significant ways in the political system. And, you know, you talk about the corruption in these workers still forced to pay union officials right now. There’s a scandal unfolding. That is really kind of bigger than most scandals we’ve seen in organized labor, and that’s the United Auto Workers Union. They’ve had two of their past presidents their their most immediate past president had to resign because his house was raided by the FBI. The previous presidents house was raided by the FBI 12 UAW officials have either pleaded guilty or been indicted on racketeering and kind of extortion and criminal charges. I mean, that’s what the federal prosecutor called it racketeering and extortion. They’re starting to talk use those words in the context of this scandal. But yet workers in states that don’t have right to work laws are still required to pay fees to that union to keep their jobs that is wrong.

Jason Hartman 8:47
Yeah, it definitely is. Okay, let’s talk about the impact on the real estate markets of right to work areas. I don’t want to say states because like when you talk about real estate, estate is too big. Right? You got to talk a little more micro than that. And then the broader economic impact. You tell us what you think about that first, and then I’ve got maybe some specific questions, largely about Detroit, but go ahead.

Mark Mix 9:12
Yeah. Glad to talk about that. Let me talk about it in the context of states, right towards states versus non right. We’re sure we can kind of maybe get more granular with your questioning, but the number of people employed is almost double the growth, the percentage growth rate in of number of people employed in right to work state from 2008 to 2018 is double than a non right to work from states? Okay. We’ll

Jason Hartman 9:33
Say that again.

Mark Mix 9:34
Yeah, the percentage growth in the number of people employed from 2008 to 2018 was double in right to work states versus non right to work states. So that’s the percentage growth in people employed. The growth in manufacturing private private sector, payroll employment was double in right to work states between 2013 and 2018. Then forced unionism states the percentage growth in total private sector non farm employment was basically about 1.5% greater. 17.2% in the right to work states 13% in the non right to work states from 2008 to 2018. And one thing that goes specifically to the real estate market, new privately owned single unit housing authorizations per 1000 residents in in fiscal year 2018, double in the right to work states versus forced unionism states. So the growth in manufacturing and private sector employment are occurring in states that have right to work laws now. And it really you don’t have to use statistics to see it. You can see, for example, the automotive industry moving for while they don’t have to move from Michigan anymore because Michigan is a right to work state, but you look at you know, where the for and

Jason Hartman 10:41
But mostly, it was actually that only changed recently. Like, what, three years ago, maybe in Michigan?

Mark Mix 10:46
Exactly. Yes, exactly. And and so you look at BMW and Mercedes Benz, and Nissan

Jason Hartman 10:53
They’re setting up in the south, and all in all the right areas, right. Yeah.

Mark Mix 10:57
That’s right. That’s exactly right. And, and if you go to Nashville, Tennessee, and you go to, you know, South Carolina produces more automobile tires than anybody in the whole world now, and they produce aircraft down in South Carolina. And, you know, you see where the growth centers are going, you know, the unions want to blame it. They say, Well, it’s because, you know, air conditioning, we’ve got air conditioning now, so people can move to Florida and move south carolina move to Georgia and Alabama. And that’s just not true. I mean, employers are going where they have where employees and employers to have a relationship with each other that’s not necessarily interfered with Now, are there unions in those rightward states? Absolutely. There are unions in those states. But workers get to hold union officials accountable, because they can vote with their pocketbook. Right?

Jason Hartman 11:37
Where there’s as it should be. Absolutely. Yeah. In California, in the Socialist Republic of California, my old home state, thankfully, I don’t live there anymore. But there, you don’t have the right to a job. Right.

Mark Mix 11:52
Right. And you don’t have a right to work without paying union dues or fees. Yeah, that’s right. Okay, so that so that’s no surprise here. I guess you’re in Arizona. Now. Is that right?

Jason Hartman 12:02
No. I used to be. I’m in Florida now. You know, so Okay, I’ll just keep lowering my tax rate with every move. Yeah.

Mark Mix 12:10
Good for you.

Jason Hartman 12:11
Okay, so we have this situation now, they have unions in right-to-work states that where you’re not required to join a union. So let’s talk a little bit about that culture and how it works. For example, you mentioned the car manufacturers that have set up shop and all the hot real estate markets in the southeastern United States. And we’ve done tons of business in all those places for many, many years. And I agree with you, that’s where the growth is. It’s in the it’s in those right-to-work states. But what what happens when you apply for a job? at you know, BMW, for example, are you presented with there is a union here in this in this shop, but you don’t have to join it? Is that how it works or give us a little idea as to how that works?

Mark Mix 13:01
Yeah, actually, none of the automotive manufacturers in the right to work states in the south are unionized. They’ve tried, they’ve tried twice at Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, they’ve tried it the Nissan plant in Mississippi. And they failed, because the workers there, they’d like the relationship they have with their employees, in most cases, they like their benefits and their pay packages. And so there’s no need for a third party to come in there and get in between the workers and you know, their supervisors in the management of those companies. So but let’s say for example, you go to a place where let’s take a right to work state first, and you go to a place where there is a union. Okay, what happens under federal law, and this is something that union officials desire and try to maintain at all cost is they get to be the exclusive bargaining agent for every worker in that particular shop. So they’re the single voice are the only ones that can talk to the employer. And they’re the only ones who can start the grievance process or finished the grievance process, if you have a problem. They control every single worker, whether that worker is a member of the Union, whether they’re paying dues or not, in a state that has a right to work law, in a state that doesn’t have right to work, you would be in a in a right to work state, they can be they can be forced into this collective, but they can’t be forced to pay for it in a non right to work state, you’re forced into this collective and union says, you know, we’ll negotiate everything for you, and we’ll do all this stuff for you, but you have to pay to keep your job. And so this is one of the reasons why employers you know, site selection experts, consultants, CEOs of companies looking to invest or put a new plan up, we know now, and this is evidence has come out more and more so in the last maybe 10 years, basically three quarters or everyone looking to expand or relocate or invest in a manufacturing facility or or, you know, an additional facility for their company, look at only right to work state. So that means that basically, if you’re not a right to work, state 75% of all the economic opportunities that may present themselves out there in the marketplace won’t even consider your state because

Jason Hartman 14:57
They’ll just pass you by, right there. Now, what about Amazon. I mean, we all know Jeff Bezos is a liberal. And so you know, he probably loves unions. But what about Amazon, for example? I mean, are they searching for new campuses? And they’re, you know, they’re already in a pretty liberal state. What’s their scoop?

Mark Mix 15:16
Yeah. Well, you look at the two places where they’ve actually decided they’re citing Tennessee and Virginia, both right to work states, they had announced that that decision to beside a new facility in New York City or outside of New York City, and all of a sudden, the union started posturing saying, okay, you’re going to be unionized, we’re going to unionize this you got to we demand that you have neutrality agreements, you let the unions in? And what did Amazon do? They said, you know, what, we’re not as interested in coming to New York anymore. And they stopped that particular development, I think they may be still be doing smaller things there. But generally, what Bezos and Amazon is looking for, and where they’ve cited their their new expansion, I forget what they call it, when they call it Amazon to or whatever, something right. And it ends up in Tennessee and Virginia, both right-to-work states.

Jason Hartman 16:01
Hmm. Interesting. Interesting. So even they didn’t want this in the end. If, you know, it’s so interesting how, at the end of the day, you know, people say a lot of stuff, but they always vote with their pocketbook. You know, it’s like, are they vote with their feet, if you will, same idea, right? They just go where it’s more beneficial to them. And we look at all these big tech companies that are sprouting all their leftist ideas, yet, they’ve got companies set up in Ireland and, and the Netherlands to, you know, do the double Irish twist, so they don’t have to pay any taxes. And, you know, in the jurisdiction where they’re really operating, I mean, they’re, they’re just hypocrites scum. I can’t stand it. You know, apple, even, you know, and I like apple. Right? They were sucking taxes out of California, right? By setting up another company in Nevada, I think so they didn’t have to pay California Tax. And it’s just ridiculous, you know, do what I say now what I do, right, that’s the mantra.

Mark Mix 16:59
Yeah, that is interesting. But, you know, we do know that this labor policy certainly has an impact on those types of decisions as well. And, and just to your point, I mean, one of the things that I think is the most, the most effective argument about right to work is that, you know, you union officials, you take away the incentive for them to come and organize workers and right to work state, because there’s no guaranteed revenue stream, they can’t force people to pay dues, they can, they can try to convince you, they can sell you a product, they can say we’ll do these things for you. And if they follow through on it, just like any small business person, you know, it’s the bakery shop, if you the only bakery shop in town, you don’t care how good your rolls and muffins are.

Jason Hartman 17:37
Or how high your prices are.

Mark Mix 17:40
Wxactly, exactly. But if there’s five bakery shops, it’s a totally different calculation. And so what Right to Work laws do very simply is they give power back to the worker, right, instead of the power to the union. That’s really the secret of it.

Jason Hartman 17:54
Exactly. They give the worker, the right to make the decision in a much freer type of marketplace as it as it should be. Okay, so where do we go from here? There’s 27 right-to-work states in the country. What is the direction of this? I assume it’s for more right-to-work states? Is there anybody coming on board soon to give the workers the right to work without being forced to join a union?

Mark Mix 18:21
Well, it’s it’s Manifest Destiny, Jason. You know, the idea that we hope is someday that no worker anywhere in the country can be compelled to pay fees or dues to a union to keep their jobs we have. We have an ongoing state program. We have programs up in Minnesota in New Hampshire, we have a program in Montana and Colorado and and a few states where we think there’s a probability that we can pass right to work laws. And we continue to do that. We also have a bill in the United States Congress. It’s so one page bill, it doesn’t add a single word to federal law. It simply says that the authorization of forced unionism It was created back in 1935, in that Roosevelt era, New Deal, that we’re repealing that and we’re making the bias in federal law in favor of volunteerism. We have I think, 2324 co sponsors that bill in the Senate, we have 100 plus in the house, again, doesn’t add a single word to federal law. It simply repeals provisions authorizing union officials to have workers fired. So we have a congressional we have a US Congress program. We have a state program. And we also have a litigation program, in fact, that on June 27 of 2018, our attorneys argued a case called Janis v asked me, which ended up in the US Supreme Court, it came out of Illinois. And in that case, we won, the majority of the Supreme Court agreed that no government employee anywhere in the country can be forced to pay fees to work for the government. That is a national right to work law for all public employees across the entire nation. So that was a huge step forward when it comes to government sector unionism. This idea that you can be forced to pay fees to a private organization or union, it to work for your government was just a bridge too far for the US Supreme Court. And they ruled that that was a violation of workers first amendment rights and the state was They’re compelling this violation and so therefore they can’t do it anymore. So that was a huge victory. That type of victory in the private sector is is probably not as easy from a litigation standpoint, because the courts tend to try to stay out of it as much as well, I say this, ideally, they try to stay out of private sector, labor relations and private sector contractual relations, to the degree that they’re legal. And there’s consideration and there’s a meeting of the minds of those elements of contract. So we continue to push on the legislative front, we’ve continued to push on the litigation front, and the movements getting stronger and stronger all the time, because people recognize now, the importance of the issue, not only from an economic standpoint, or from individual freedom, individual freedom standpoint, I think those two points, the individual freedom being the most important, you know, predicated on who we are as a country and our first member protections, but also on the economic side, it can’t be argued anymore. You know, union officials say, well, you make more money in forced unionism states. And, yeah, I guess if the cost of living is, you know, two times the cost of living in a right to work state, you can argue that a plumber in New York City makes $95 an hour as a union member. And a plumber in Provo, Utah only makes 65. And you could say that’s a $30 union difference.

Jason Hartman 21:08
But I will, but first of all, a bunch of that goes to the cost of living, which would be automatically adjusted in any market, and a bunch of it goes to the dang union. That’s why they have to be they have to be paid more because they got to pay their union dues. How much are union dues? Generally? How much do they cost?

Mark Mix 21:25
Yeah, no, that’s a great question. And it depends on the occupation. But we we now have come up with a fairly reliable average between $800 and $1,000. Now, if you’re an airline pilot,

Jason Hartman 21:33
Per what? Wait. Per what?

Mark Mix 21:35
Per year per year per year. Yeah, $1,000 per year for if you’re a teacher, or you know, your machinist, 800. Between 100 1000 if you’re an NFL football player, it can be a whole lot more than that. It can be hundreds of 1000s, I suspect. I don’t know that for sure. We ended up representing some football players back in the in the strike, I think it would Gosh, what, 1995?

Jason Hartman 21:56
Basically, basically let’s look at the teacher example. If you’re a teacher now that’s a public employee union. Okay. So it may not be the best example. And I don’t know which direction it would or wouldn’t be. But you know, if you make 50 grand, that’s 2% of your income is going to the union. I mean, they better be doing something for you, or you’re getting just completely ripped off.

Mark Mix 22:20
Yeah. And that yeah, that’s exactly right. And and if they’re doing something for you, then then have at it, give them more money, if they’re doing good things for you. Right, they’re not. And the only claim they have is you have to pay them money, because you want to work at a particular school district, if they can’t do any more under the Janus decision, which is great news. But, but but take that example and move it over to the private sector. And you still have that scenario unfolding with workers in 23 states.

Jason Hartman 22:44
You know, it’s you mentioned the Janus decision, again, that you mentioned a few minutes ago. I mean, isn’t it beautiful, our legal system and court system, just by by going through litigation, you can literally change the law of the land. That is an absolutely beautiful thing. You know it? I mean, what other country can you do that, you know, that that’s, that’s incredible. I mean, it’s like, it’s like having your own political power your own lobbyists. And hopefully, the decision that’s adjudicated is, is fair and good. It’s certainly not always many times it goes the other way. But just the idea that you can impact government in that way and literally change the law by litigating a case is is a absolutely wonderful, right. You know,

Mark Mix 23:31
Yeah, well. It’s, it’s, you’re absolutely right. And you know, it’s funny, I wrote to my daughter, and I was, I was taking my daughter to work care to school, driving her to school, and I was on my way down to the US Supreme Court because we were arguing another case there on behalf of some teachers and public employees in the state of California. And I, we had that conversation. And the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has been is argued in front of US Supreme Court 18 times. And this Janice’s vision was one guy in one bargaining unit in Illinois, to having the courage to stand up allowing us to represent him. We went all the way through the court system, the federal court system we end up at the steps of the United States Supreme Court and on the very last case decided on June 27 2018 of the whole term. We waited outside three days for for them to have the hand down this decision. And sure enough, we win that case and one man Mark Janis with our help and the legal right right to work legal defense Foundation was able to change the law for every single government employee in the country that

Jason Hartman 24:28
You know, Mark Janus is like the United States modern version of liquid lensa in Poland, okay. And I’ve been to the liquid lensa Museum twice now and I can’t think of the name of the city but it starts with the G Gdansk. Thank you. And, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s really incredible. Yeah, that’s the way we do things here. You do it through through the legal system and it’s great. Give out your website and tell people where they can find out more support your organization or whatever.

Mark Mix 25:00
Yeah, they can find us at on that wonderful worldwide web @www.nrtw.org. That’s our legal defense foundation. Our committee, which does the legislation is in our twc.org. And in those two places, you can find out lots of information about the right to work. If you live in a right to work state, you can have any of your quote your kind of frequently asked questions or simple questions answered there. We have an 800 number, we have 21 lawyers who provide legal representation to employees and information to employees, and they do that for free. And so it’s a great place to go and kind of get a feel for what right to work means and the impact it has. Not only on individuals, but on our on our country as well.

Jason Hartman 25:45
Real Estate Investors remember, when you’re evaluating a real estate deal, if it’s a right to work state, it’s probably also a landlord friendly state. And it’s a state where people are moving to it’s a state that is growing most likely, this is almost always true, by the way, just look at the 27 states. And, you know, by and large, what I say is is the way it is, you know, so you’re you’re going to have a better investment experience. And there may be a mitigating factor that makes your deal better in a, you know, in a no right to work state, right. But by and large, you’re just gonna do better in right to work states so, so think about that when you’re buying your next piece of property. Marc Mix, thanks for joining us.

Mark Mix 26:31
My pleasure, Jason, thanks for the opportunity. It’s great to have a conversation with you about this issue.

Jason Hartman 26:40
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